Content creation is an essential part of any business’s digital marketing strategy. Developing an effective strategy for content creation is not only good for business, in addition, it can also lead to less stress throughout the year as you regularly release content.

My first tip for productive content planning is to complete content in batches. After you have created a full-year plan, focus on the first 12-week plan only to create content. Secondly, you might want to update your yearly plan and, you don’t want to do unnecessary work.

With the help of this short tutorial, you will be able to systematise everything from planning and keyword research to repurposing content.

Phase 1: The Basics

Step 1: Create a Worksheet

The first step in creating a content calendar is to set everything up in a Worksheet. You can do this in Word or your preferred word processing program.

First, create a table with six columns, then add the days of the week to the top row of your content calendar.

step 1 of year content worksheet

Next, add a line for each week of the year to separate your content by weeks. Your calendar will look something like this:

step 2 yearly content planner sample

Fill out your calendar for the entire year. Firstly, you add the days and weeks, after that, you may want to apply colour so you can more easily distinguish the sections.

Step 2: Add Events and Holidays

The next step is to do a Google search to find out what events are happening in your industry so you can add them to your calendar. I have only added the most basic holidays to the Worksheet like Christmas & New Year. Please add your own special days.

Tips: Fashion industry: look up the major events that happen throughout the entire year, such as tradeshows or Fashion Week.
Healthcare industry: identify all of the awareness days, weeks, and months.

In your empty calendar template, enter the events into the particular days, weeks, or months when they’ll happen. This way, you can plan your content according to when those events occur.

Your content calendar will begin to look like this:

Yearly content planner sample

Phase 2: Identify Content Themes

Step 1: Brainstorm 12 themes that are relevant to your industry.

Therefore, you will have one idea for each month. Take into consideration what your audience wants to see and consequently, you will be able to educate or entertain them.  In other words, you need to determine what products and services you want to promote.

Also, identify what your business’s internal priorities are. If you’re a fashion line, your priority is to sell clothing. If you’re a musician, your primary goal is to sell albums or book shows. Start thinking about how you can incorporate your business priorities into your content.
For example, for my business, which is digital marketing, things like content creation, affiliate marketing, blogging, social media, graphics, etc.

Step 2: Come up with four subtopics under each theme.

You can certainly do more than this if you plan to release content more than once a week. For most people, once a week is enough. I recommend an 80/20 split between education/entertaining and promoting your products and services. You don’t want to promote your offerings all of the time or as a result, people will lose interest and unfollow your page.

Step 3: Keyword research

Your topics probably have some apparent phrases and you probably already know what your keywords are. On the other hand, if you don’t, you can use the Google keyword planner. I like using this Free Keyword Tool from Wordstream. Come up with at least 15-20 specific keywords that you can use on your various areas of content.

Phase 3: Choose your primary platform

Decide which platform you are going to use and what kind of content you are going to create for it. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t be on all platforms, but it’s a good idea to pick one to focus on in the beginning.

Instagram: curated photographs and quotes, live videos and stories.
Facebook: short posts, curated photographs and quotes, live videos and stories.
YouTube: videos and tutorials.
LinkedIn: written articles and industry topics.
Website & Blog: written articles, posts, etc.

Once you have picked your platform, you should go ahead and choose your preferred medium. Are you going to do video, podcast, or are you going to write a blog? However, stick to something with what you feel comfortable. It is of no use to try and do videos if appearing on screen makes you feel anxious.

Phase 4: Repurpose content

Once you’ve created some content, make sure that is has a long shelf life, because now it’s time to use it intelligently.

For example, a video: Turn it into a blog post which will help with SEO. (multiple uses of keywords, etc.) The most fantastic part about a video is you can extract the audio and turn it into a podcast!
Make a Pinterest image and pin it to a relevant board to help with Pinterest traffic.
Create a couple of quotes and make graphics to use on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Create a live Instagram teaser on Instagram stories. Ask your followers to swipe up and go to the blog post. You can also put the video on YouTube, and you can link to the blog post.

So as you can see with one piece of content, you can take care of most types of traffic. That’s how you can take an overwhelming content plan and scale it down so that you have one overarching goal each a month and a specific one each week.

Saves you time in the long run!

Doing an entire year of content planning upfront allows you to focus on creating and delivering quality content every week. Most importantly, try to stay a few weeks ahead in your content creation because it’s easy to fall behind when you’re posting something new every day.

In conclusion, as your audience grows more familiar with your content and your business, they’ll start expecting to see posts at certain times. Keep to your schedule and post your content at the same time each day. In addition to this, you can use tools like Buffer or HootSuite, and as a bonus, they’ll post on multiple platforms for you.

What do you think? Do you use some of these tactics to create your social media content calendar?

What tips can you offer?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.